{DIY Wednesday: wire-bound journals CAN be cool (and easy to make)}

So, I thought we’d take a break from Yudu adventures for a little tutorial I snapped photos for ages ago and promptly forgot. In fact, if it weren’t for iPhoto’s odd way of displaying things, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now. Alas, technology wins again in it’s totally productive way of doing things. It makes my paper planner/to-do list feel inadequate. How do you make a notebook feel better?

Anyway, I shall write about it’s cousin, the spiral bound art journal. Spiral bound, you say? Why, that isn’t a book, and since it’s not a book, it’s not a true art journal.

Hey now! Anything can be an art journal. A memo pad can be an art journal. A stack of paper on your desk can be an art journal. A bunch of canvases or pieces of wood can be an art journal. It can be anything that you are a. comfortable working on, and b. fill with deep, personal things and sometimes write on (don’t get me started on the whole there’s-no-journaling argument).

Whoah. A loose piece of art journal just launched itself out of happiness at me from the cork board across the room. That is how happy art journals are when you just let them be what they want (are).

Are we clear on all this? Good.

Spiral ones used to make my skin itch, but now I’m an addict. Which usually happens with anything you become addicted to. Like TV shows for me. I’ll like it, but then, after watching it for awhile, I love it. And obsess about it. Which is why I don’t make my LiveJournal account public here. It would probably scare you. I think this week is all about Peter & Olivia on Fringe (OTP!). Yup. Nothing interesting there. Move along.

Have I mentioned your art journal can be digital? Totally.

Spirals are great if you’re like me and don’t really do spreads. I love love doing larger one-page journal pages. This is something I simply grew into as my journaling and art evolved, and then I decided to play with a spiral format as it was something I hadn’t done before, and that is so important when you’re trying to find yourself and express yourself authentically. Not just journal format, but anything -- try things you haven’t because they scare you. You might just be surprised!

Now, I know most of you don’t have a professional binding machine sitting on the table behind you. This is fine. Because the machine I use is the same one they use at Office Max or Staples or wherever you want to go. So this tutorial will work. If you happen to have one of those little ones that you use manually, awesome. This will also work, but you can use a thicker cover.

Yes, the cover. Now, these machines don’t have a very wide opening for the paper -- they’re made mostly for offices to make presentations, so they weren’t thinking that someone was going to bring in bookboard and want to get it punched. Tis cool. Most scrapbooking stores sell thicker stuff called chipboard. It can be really flimsy or really thick; my local store carries thicker stuff for making books or cutting out die-cut shapes. Try to find some that’s about the same thickness as those chipboard thingies you can get in the scrapbook aisle.

If you can’t, that’s cool, too. Instead of covering it with paper, try bookcloth or fabric. It’ll add to the strength without making it that much thicker.

When it comes to putting paper (or fabric) on these covers, I actually use spray adhesive. Two reasons. A. it is so much easier to get an even coat of glue across the entire surface. B. It won’t make the board bow (get curly-like) as badly. Don’t worry, folks, I’ve done the trial and error for you. I’m just that awesome.

Cut the paper or fabric you’re gonna be using about two inches bigger on all four sides than the cover (and this cover can be any size). Place it face DOWN on your protected surface. You can see I’m ultra high-tech with newspaper. Worked for me doing pumpkins and eggs as a child, so it’ll work here.

Spray down your cover. Turn it over and place it on your paper. Turn it over and use a bone folder or the handle of your scissors to smooth your paper (or fabric!) down real nice.

Now, turn it back over (so the pretty side is on the table -- extra newspaper works here so you’re not putting it down on run-off adhesive. this is no good and will make things very frustrating) and put a bit of adhesive on the two extra inches.

For this part, you’ve kinda gotta look at the pictures. You want to fold your corners in and I really can’t think of a way to explain this with words. Here is a pretty easy way to do it. Or you can fold them in. Then just fold over the cover on all sides.

You probably want to hide the folded-over edges, right? Cut down a pretty piece of paper so it's about an inch and a half smaller on all sides than the cover, and glue that in with some spray adhesive, too!

I suggest putting your completed covers under something heavy, like a subwoofer sitting in your garage, or textbooks you barely used in college. Stuff like that.

Paper for the inside, just cut it down. It can be varied sizes or all the same, but keep it relatively simple -- you don’t want to make the poor, under-paid office supply store worker cry, got me?

Seeing as you’re taking it to someone to bind it, you can just sandwich your paper between the two lovely covers and hand it over to the person behind the counter after telling them to be careful with your pretty pretty.

If you’re NOT, get this -- you need to “flip” the back cover around to sit on the front, so the pretty sides are together, then turn the whole thing over and THEN start threading through the wire. So, the prong-y side should be sticking out of the paper, and the wired-together side should be up against the cover. This is important, or else the place where the two meet will be funky and in the front, and we don’t want that!

Either way, you’ve got a nice, fun journal to play with.

PS -- the Wish Journal Workshop starts soon. Are you coming along to play with us?

{DIY Wednesday: The Yudu, Part #2: Transparencies can kill your printer}

I know this isn't like most of my entries. I just feel I need to post all I've learned to help out others just starting with their YUDUs. love, kira

Catch the first part, all about emulsion sheets, here.


 The Yudu comes with one inkjet transparency. Allow me to explain how this concept works.

Transparencies are slick. Remember teachers using them in school? How they could write on them with those awesome vis-a-vi markers that would wipe off? These are just like those. Except inkjet transparencies have a special coating on one side (or both) that allows slick ink to stick to it. The ink isn’t sticking to the actual transparency -- it’s sticking to the chemical coating.

Because of this sticky stuff, it may get messed up in your printer. It defiantly got the better of mine. If you have one of those smaller ones that takes the paper like an old fax machine, you know, standing up? From my experience, those are the ones that get all gunked up from trying to print. So, like your emulsion sheet, cut the transparency in half before trying to print.

Alternatively, you can draw directly onto the transparency with a black Sharpie. Seriously, this didn’t occur to me until maybe last night, so that’s a month in -- but you can trace something or just draw on the sheet. Just so long as the colored in areas are SOLID BLACK. Anything that isn’t black will not transfer to the screen.

The DVD/CD ROM disk that comes with the machine has some sample images on it if you’d like to play right away. Also, ProvoCraft sells tubes of pre-made transparencies for you to use. However, if you plan to sell anything you print with their images, you can only do so if a. it is a small print run, and b. is not done online. There’s a copy of their Angel Policy on their website if you’d like the full wording; I just thought I’d break it down for you here.

There's a great explanation at the bottom of this page. Read through it to see why you can't really sell anything made with the packaged transparencies.

one of the transparencies created by ProvoCraft for the Yudu

Since you’re just experimenting, stick with either drawing on the transparency or testing your printer with half of one.

Another idea is to use laser transparencies. These don’t have the special coating because of the way laser printers work -- instead of having the ink floating on the page, laser printers have a powder pigment that is burned onto the page. I won’t get technical here, but I will say that using the laser ones gives you stronger blacks and may not be as expensive. How do you use these if you don’t have a laser printer, you ask?

Simple! Print your black image out on a piece of paper. Take said paper to Office Max or whatever supply store you prefer. Buy a transparency (single from the print center or a box from the store), load it up in their black and white copier, and voila! You have a nice, solid black laser transparency to print with. This is a cheap alternative if you find your printer + inkjet transparencies = disaster.

a transpariency I created on the computer and printed with a laser printe

One thing that never occurred to me was the idea that I could trace something onto the transparency. Simply push the lightbulb button on the yudu and place the original picture on the surface, then put the transparency atop that. With a Sharpie, trace what you want to use, and color in the areas you want to print. Simple, right? Just make sure you make a solid block of black; if there's even one tiny bit that isn't colored, it will show up on the final screen. That's how exact and awesome the Yudu is. Seriously. When printed right, you can see the edges of the pixels from an image I burned to a screen. Yeah. That good.

You can also put something down on the glass, such as a cut shape or found object, as long as it's flat enough that you can get the screen and t-shirt platen on it.

Once you have your image on the transparency, you're ready to burn the screen. This is so amazingly easy compared to everything else, I'm just going to direct you to the instructions to do this.

However, when you rinse the screen, work FIRST on the top of the screen. And don't use the scratchy green part on the bottom, where the emulsion is. You're just going to mess things up. Despite the screen being burned, it needs some more time to become completely hardened. Just be gentle and patient. It'll be worth the extra time when you have a nice, perfect screen to print with.

Next week! All about printing. And I've got a LOT to say about that!

{DIY Wednesday: The Yudu, Part #1 - The Frustrations of Emulsion Sheets}


Over the holidays, I was lucky enough to get a Yudu screenprinter. 


After seeing a demonstration, I just knew I had to play with one myself. How can you not want to? You can take artwork, photos -- just about anything -- and transfer it to fabric, bags, journals.... Just imagine me with a dreamy sigh just about now. 

Before starting, I did the following:

+ read the quick start guide. twice.

+ watched the demo videos on the website.

+ consulted yuduforums.com

The demo videos make it LOOK incredibly easy, but I will tell you this:

You WILL mess up your first screen. You will PROBABLY mess up your second. 



Applying the Emulsion

Sorry, guys, but this is the truth. It is NOT easy to apply the emulsion sheets to the screen. Not at all. You will need more water than you think. But there’s a delicate balance and unfortunately, the only way you’ll learn the perfect amount is by experimenting. For this reason, I suggest you cut the emulsion sheet that comes with the Yudu in half or even quarters to practice. Those suckers are expensive, so you want to get as much out of the one in the box as you can before shelling out the $20 for two new ones. 

Next, you’re going to need help. While one demo video shows a person doing this all on their own, the one on the DVD shows two people. When you’re starting out, grab someone else to work with you. At least you’ll have someone to laugh with when things don’t work out according to plan. 

Out of everything, everything that you do with this system, the hardest is applying the emulsion sheet to your screen. If you don’t get it wet enough, it won’t stick to the screen and you’ll have huge holes. If you get it too wet, it’ll get all liquid-y and too thin and when you go to wash it after burning an image, you’ll get holes. 

Maybe I should just say it that way: you will get holes. Not in the screen, just the emulsion. 

You see, the way this works is this: when you dry the emulsion, it forms a shell on the screen that doesn’t allow any paint to get through onto your item. By “burning an image” you’re breaking through this shell where you want in order to create a design. So making sure you use the right amount of water really influences how well your screenprint image will transfer onto whatever you’re printing onto. 

I tried a sponge at first and, well, that didn’t go so well. Firstly, it didn’t put nearly enough water on the screen. Second, when I added more water, it smeared the emulsion. We tried anyway, going through the whole process of applying it and drying the screen. 

The best method we’ve found is using a spray bottle and sponge. Here are the steps we follow:

1. Run the screen under your sink. 

2. Pat it so it doesn’t drip all over your floors but not so much as to remove much water.

3. Hold it up to a light source or window. You should be able to see the difference between holes filled with water and those without. You want all the holes to be filled with water. 

4. Apply the emulsion sheet and use the squeegie a few times to evenly apply it. 

5. Turn the screen over. There, you also will see a difference between where the sheet has stuck and where it hasn’t. Carefully spritz some more water here and there and pad with the sponge. (It helps to have another person with this step; have them put their hand directly on the screen under the not-quite-done parts to give you a solid surface to pad onto with the sponge.)

Do NOT make ANY strokes with the sponge! This will cause the emulsion to move around, too! Pad GENTLY with the sponge -- don’t let any extra water bubble up! 

6. Place the screen shiny side DOWN into the dryer. You’ve probably got some too-wet areas, and drying it this way will keep those areas pooled instead of dripping around. 

The instructions say dry it for ONE cycle in the drying rack. PLEASE do it for THREE. 

If you try to pull off the “shiny” side after one cycle, you will pull off emulsion, and we don’t want that. Please please put it in for THREE cycles. That’s an hour. More than enough time to create an image to burn. 

Next Week: Transparencies Are Expensive and Hard to Use (most of the time)